Racist Smear Test for Cervical Cancer

June 3rd, 2009 - 9:09 pm ICT by GD  

When Sandy Dobson went to her doctor to get a cervical smear done, he found out that non-Whites were allowed to get it done for free. She, however, would have to pay $ 25 for the same. Dobson is a resident of Blenheim.

Dobson got pretty upset over the whole incident and to find out more she called up the Ministry of Health’s Cervical Screening Programme helpline. She was denied any information regarding the subject. Dobson feels that the government is being biased and sporting a racist attitude.

When contacted though, the Nelson Marlborough District Health Board’s General manager Peter Burton was quite open about the whole subject. He told that the free cervical test was targeted at that section of society which had the most chances of encountering the fatal disease. The free test was brought into action since July 2008.

According to the response emailed by the Ministry of Health to the Marlborough Express, Maori and Pacific Island women have a higher chance of encountering cervical cancer than European and Pakeha women. The chances of these women being affected by cervical cancer was twice more than the others. Also, the risk of them succumbing to it is three to four times more.

The free test aims mostly to encourage a higher turnout in screening among the women. Presently, the turnout rate is 50% for the Maori and Pacific omen. The other lot has a rate of 80% in comparison. It has also been reported that the Asian women have relatively low turnout rate. The free test will apply to all women in the said category if they are over 30 years and have never had a smear in the past 5 years.

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